AP NEWS

Nebraska lawmakers kick off debate on medicinal marijuana

May 16, 2019
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Dominic Gillen, right, and his 17-year-old son Will, who suffers from seizures, sit outside the Legislative Chamber as they listen to debate in Lincoln, Neb., Wednesday, May 15, 2019, on a proposal to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes with the looming threat of a much broader ballot measure that could go to voters in 2020. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska lawmakers have kicked off a debate on a proposal to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes as activists push a much broader ballot measure that would place the issue before voters next year.

Supporters argued Wednesday that the legislative bill is narrowly tailored, with restrictions on how much users can possess and a ban on marijuana smoking.

Senators who oppose the measure say the drug is still illegal at the federal level and argue that its benefits and dangers haven’t been fully studied.

The sponsor, Sen. Anna Wishart, of Lincoln, says the bill is intended to address the concerns of many groups who raised concerns about it.

Legalization supporters are circulating petitions to place the issue before voters on the November 2020 ballot, where it’s likely to pass.